Post submitted by Aaron Rodriguez, former Rapid Response Deputy Press Secretary
Today, the Human Rights Campaign strongly condemned the move by Senate Republicans to deploy the “nuclear option” to hand anti-equality Judge Neil Gorsuch a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court of the United States by shamefully changing Senate rules and bypassing the historic 60-vote threshold for high court nominees.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Senate Republicans’ decision to pave the way for the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, who throughout his career has dismissed the role of the courts in protecting individual and civil rights,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “He does not believe the Constitution protects marriage rights for same-sex couples. He has twice ruled in cases that undermined equality for transgender people. In his Senate testimony, he repeatedly dodged answers about the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people. If you harbor any remaining doubt about his dangerous worldview, consider for a moment that Judge Gorsuch’s idol is none other than Antonin Scalia.”
Gorsuch’s history of opposing civil rights for the LGBTQ community triggered historic opposition from HRC and many civil rights organizations. HRC previously took unprecedented action by opposing Gorsuch prior to his confirmation hearing, calling for a filibuster on the Senate floor, and testifying against Gorsuch before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Judge Gorsuch’s record, coupled with Trump’s discriminatory executive actions, his other anti-LGBTQ appointees, and the campaign promise to appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia leave no room for anyone to doubt that as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court, Gorsuch will be dangerous for the LGBTQ community.
Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including for LGBTQ people:
- Gorsuch’s 2004 dissertation from Oxford University revealed that he did not think the United States Constitution protected the right to marriage equality.
- Gorsuch called marriage equality part of the liberal social agenda, saying, “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom… as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide…”
- He joined the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, which asserted that that some private corporations are “people” under federal law and have a right to deny basic healthcare coverage if it violates their religious belief. This expansive ruling could allow employers to deny transgender employees access to hormone treatment, access to birth control and other crucial health care for LGBTQ people.
- Hobby Lobby could have negative long-term consequences beyond health care for the LGBTQ community. There are those who are already trying to use the decision to advance discrimination against LGBTQ workers.
- In 2015, Gorsuch joined a ruling against a transgender woman who was denied consistent access to hormone therapy while incarcerated. The ruling dismissed the prisoner’s claims that the denial of care amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.
- He has advocated for eliminating Chevron deference, a critical administrative law doctrine that allows our federal system of regulations to function, which could result in the significant loss protections for LGBTQ people.